Entertainment Music 07 Sep 2016 For the love of Indi ...

For the love of Indian flavour

Published Sep 7, 2016, 12:38 am IST
Updated Sep 7, 2016, 7:17 am IST
New Zealand-based music composer Mikey McCleary’s work has been subtly redefining Bollywood music.
Mikey McCleary
 Mikey McCleary

Two stressed out people — an old man and a young woman — after days of worries and anxieties, one day decide to take a break and switch on some music to swing by. Mikey McCleary’s voice escapes a crisp vinyl that the old man plays.

The characters, played by Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin, begin to swing to the music that Mikey composed for Anu Menon’s film, Waiting. This is one of the most recent works by The Bartender-fame music composer.


The New Zealander was born in Chennai, and after working in London, he is currently is based in Mumbai and has been working extensively on Bollywood music. He knew from his experience the kind of mood an Indian movie would have. Waiting happened quite by chance when the director Anu Menon called Mikey one day. Soon, they met and watched the rough cut of the film. “I really liked the subtle story and natural acting, so I decided to work on the music for the film,” Mikey says.

Out of the four songs that he made for the film, Tu Hai was released first. “Initially, we had tried it as a male song, then changed it to a female song and finally came out as a duet,” Mikey says.

Zara Zara was the last song, played in the background when the two go back to their waiting chairs and their uncertainties. “I specifically tried to give the melody an Indian flavour. I was lucky to have Vishal Dadlani and Kavita Seth sing it.”

Finally, there is a lullaby Waiting for you, sung by Mikey and Anushka Manchanda, reminiscent of the TV Dinners songs the two had sung together. That was an album Mikey brought out two years ago with tracks like The Little Things You do, an extension of his popular ad jingles.

Coincidentally, just before Waiting, Mikey had composed for another movie which also had Kalki as the lead actress — Margarita With A Straw. The film had won him ‘best composer award’ at the Asian Film Awards.

“It was a long but rewarding journey. I think I worked on the music for that film for two years. We tried recording six different singers for Choone Chali before we decided that Rachel was the right person.”

His next movie project is Aditya Chopra’s upcoming film, Befikre starring Ranveer Singh. “I produced all the songs (composed by Vishal Shekhar) and now, I’m composing the background music.”

On the non-film front, he is always writing and recording new songs with different singers. “Last year I set up TVC Voices, an agency that will represent singers and voice-over artistes in the TV advertising industry. I’ve discovered a lot of exciting new talent,” he concludes.